Modified Use of e-cigarettes and Marketing on YouTube

This project is funded by a National Institutes of Health R01 grant. Youth use social media such as YouTube to learn about e-cigarette use and are exposed to e-cigarette marketing through these means. YouTube is the world’s largest social media platform for sharing video content with over a billion users, and it can be studied to learn about trends in various health and risk behaviors, including e-cigarette use. This project uses YouTube as an important window into the youth appeal of e-cigarettes in the context of evolving innovations in product development and marketing strategies. CML is using cutting edge machine learning and data mining methods to identify this evidence from YouTube videos.The overall aim of this study is to identify popular ways in which youth modify e-cigarettes and their motives for doing so using focus group methods and social media informatics

Rural Loss Estimates of Hurricane Florence Enabled by Citizen Scientists
This project is funded by Award#1902460 of the National Science Foundation’s Division Of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) . This project examines the ways in which everyday citizen scientists might be able to effectively collect perishable research-grade damage data following a hurricane that affects rural locales. This research uses Hurricane Florence in 2018 as a test case. The project uniquely leverages networks of journalists in rural areas to actively recruit local citizen scientists to document damage using multiple channels. This project directly enhances the understanding of rural damage from Florence and will impact the immediate recovery of these often marginalized and neglected communities. Furthermore, this research measures and tests the efficacy of citizen-produced versus engineer-collected damage data in rural contexts, validated by ground truth reconnaissance data. Dr. Murthy is PI on this project.

Venmo: Understanding Mobile Payments as Social Media
Payment infrastructures are going through rapid change with the rise of next generation mobile networks and smartphone ownership. From mobile wallets to rideshare apps, social payments allow users to split receipts with friends, charge exes for breakup expenses, or troll celebrities. New layers of data, sociality, and markets are being created and influenced by expanding economic imaginaries, regulations, and business models leveraging these new infrastructures. In this project we discuss how mobile payment systems have become social media. In this project, Drs. Murthy and Acker examine Venmo, a social payments platform that allows users to broadcast transactions to a social activity stream or public transaction feed. Our findings detail how transaction feeds of mobile payments support social practices, communication, and commerce with mobile devices and wireless networks. Our case study on Venmo helps develop some implications for the design, study, and impact of mobile payment infrastructures as social media.

CoVerifi: A COVID-19 News Verification System

This project seeks to make a timely intervention to the information landscape through a COVID-19 fake news, misinformation, and disinformation website. The website asks visitors to participate in crowd-based citizen science by quickly asking their opinion of whether something is fake news, misinformation, or disinformation. CoVerifi is a web application creating a news feed which combines both the power of machine learning and the power of human feedback to assess the credibility of news. Through allowing users the ability to “vote” on news content, the CoVerifi platform will allow us to release labelled data as open source, which will enable further research on preventing the spread of COVID-19-related misinformation. CoVerifi also has potential utility of being deployed at scale for combating the COVID-19 “infodemic”.